tv The Situation Room CNN July 22, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
airline staff, airport staff entire families coming to leave flowers, teddy bears, balloons and to sign the book of condolence. jim? >> thank you. that's it for the lead" today. i'm jim sciutto. i turn you over now to wolf blitzer live from jerusalem in blitzer live from jerusalem in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> happening now, a situation room" special report. airlines around the world cancel flights to tel aviv as a rocket strikes frightfully close to the airport. human cost. the number of dead in gaza keeps climbing with dozens more palestinians reported killed as pressure grows for a cease-fire. missile evidence. holes in the wreckage of malaysia flight 17's fuselage show extensive explosion and shrapnel damage. we have new information about what u.s. intelligence has now learned. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in jerusalem. you're in "the situation room."
we're following the break is news, dramatic new international fallout from the fighting between israel and hamas. it's raging on despite increased efforts to try to broker a cease-fire. [ explosion ] >> continued zroil strikes on gaza have pushed the death toll there to at least 630 people, 28 israeli soldiers have also died as well as two israeli civilians and the impact from this crisis is clearly spreading. u.s. aviation officials are now taking drastic action. they're banning american carriers from flying into israel's main airport after a rocket struck this house about a mile away from ben gurion international airport. international airlines are now following the u.s. lead with lufthansa, be klm, air france among those canceling flights into ben gurion airport at least
for 24 to 36 hours. we're following all angles of the fighting. the fallout, plus major new developments ins the downing of flight 17 with our correspondents and our guests. atika schubert begins coverage over the an ben gurion international airport just outside tel aviv. set the scene for us, atika. what is going on the an ben gurion airport? >> well, airport operations seem to be going as normal. we just all an e al flight takeoff and another one land. the airport is trying to say business as usual but united airlines, delta, us airways all canceling flights here. now european airlines, as well. and in the meantime, we ourselves have had the sirens go off. we've seen a rocket interception overhead just above ben gurion airport. sounds like another plane is taking off now. and with those kinds of rockets still many coming in including
that one you pointed out that hit a house here in the town we're in now, completely destroying the house, civil be aviation authorities are looking for more assurances it's safe to land planes here. until they get those assurances they're going to be diverting planes away from the ben gurion airport. >> atika, that rocket that destroyed that house near the airport, that was a rocket that came in presumably from gaza. the iron dome, i guess israel's anti-missile system didn't necessarily work on this particular occasion. was the dome even activated? >> reporter: the iron dome was definitely activated but it isn'tent going to work 100% of the time. that rocket definitely came from gaza, more than 2,000 rockets have been fired into israel since the start of the most recent offensive into gaza. even though the dome is able to
intercept a lot of them, it doesn't get all of them. this one happened to hit the house in yahud, practically destroying it. >> atika schubert outside ben gurion airport. thank you. coming up next hour, i'll speak live with the head of israel's civil aviation authority working with the faa to try to get u.s. airlines cleared to resume flights to israel. these new eight of fears about israeli air space come less than a week after malaysia flight 17 was shot down over ukraine and all of it is raising serious questions about potential danger. we all face when we fly. our aviation correspondent rene marsh is working this part of the story for us in washington. are you finding out? >> this was a rare move. the faa says it was pushed to ban flights in and out of israel's main airport because of the today's rocket attack. that was the catalyst. not the threat from hamas, 11
days ago threatening an attack on the airport. all u.s. airline flights in and out of israel canceled. one delta flight turned around mid-air. the flight path shows the plane bound for tel aviv with 295 passengers on board was diverted to pairs. the u.s. government taking no chances 56 last week's deadly missile attack on malaysia flight 17. and after this. rocket remnants found in a demolished house just one mile from tel aviv's ben gurion airport. the faa alerting airlines even before it could send out a formal 24-hour ban on flights. and jittery carriers responding immediately. >> i think what you're seeing is yes, a super sensitive reaction to what happened on monday over the ukraine by the u.s. carriers. >> other airlines following suit. united, usair and some international carriers including
lufthansa, klm anor weejian, but israel is pushing back trying to reassure airlines it is safe to fly to and from its main airport. an angry israeli transport minister called the u.s. move a "prize to terror." the country's own airline el-al continues to fly. currently, the faa prohibits u.s. airlines from flying over eastern ukraine and crimea, north korea, northern ethiopia and libya. u.s. planes can fly over iraq, but only above 20,000 feet. and the faa warns of dangers including missiles and small arms fire for airlines flying over eight other countries. including syria and afghanistan. but it's up to the individual airline to heed the warning. some critics say security decisions belong solely with governments and said faa warnings urging airlines to use
"extreme caution" is too vague. >> i have no idea what extreme caution means at 33,000 feet in a commercial airliner that has no protection against any ground to air missiles. i don't know what the faa is saying there. that's their responsibility. they're the regulatory authority, and the regulatory organizations and they need to err on the side of caution. >> all right. well, the decision is the faa decision is let's be very clear, much bigger than restricting air space over parts of the country. this decision essentially bans flight and it is essentially more disruptivive. it really does just take israel off of the map for a u.s. carriers. and the question remains, when the faa lifts the ban, will that reassure airlines to resume flights or will it be necessary to see a cease-fire before they start resuming flights once
again. we can tell you the faa, wolf, will be reconsidering the ban after 24 hours. >> rene marsh, good questions indeed. cnn's john vauss was on that delta flight 468 from the new york's john f. kennedy airport to tel aviv when it was diverted to paris. john is joining us on the phone right now. what happened? walk us through your experience on that delta flight. >> wolf, ben gurion airport in tel aviv. it was all very standard up till just after the -- up till the last hour as we were coming pretty much on final approach coming into tel aviv when the captain got on the inflight announcement system and said we were turning back, that the plane is being diverted back to paris because that was a safe place to be because he said a rocket had just landed in the
vicinity of the tel aviv airport. as pilot of the plane and a company, delta had made a decision that it was not safe for the plane to land. we were initially told we were heading back to paris for a five-hour window when they would reassess the security situation. that then became quite a few hours longer than that, and as you know, there's now a 24-hour stay on any american-u.s.-based carrier heading into israel. wolf? >> john vauss, we're having a little difficulty with your line but we got the gist of your point, at least you're safe and sound in pair ritz right now. john vauss was on that flight from new york to tel aviv as it was making that final approach towards israel, it made a u-turn over greece, flew to paris and that. no more delta flights into israel. united flights, united airways flights at least for 24 hours.
several european carriers suspended flights in and out of israel, as well. up next, growing pressure for a cease-fire between israel and hamas. i'll talk to both sides about efforts to try to stop the blood shed. plus conflicting claims about the bodies of malaysia flight 17 victims. a spokesman for the international monitors at the scene will help us find the facts. we're live here in jerusalem. you're in "the situation room." did you know, your eyes can lose vital nutrients as you age? [ male announcer ] that's why there's ocuvite to help replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite has a unique formula not found in your multivitamin
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including the faa barring all u.s. flights to the israel's main airport near tel aviv because of rockets fire nearby. let's talk about that and more with mark regov. thanks very much for joining us. was the faa in washington right in suspending at least for 24 hours all u.s. flights in and out of israel? >> we in israel pride ourselves on a number of things and one of them is airline security. we've got at excellent record. our airport in israel is one of the most protected facilities in the country. our airplanes are taking off and landing safely. we don't see a security threat that can't be dealt with from our point of view, that airport is functioning. it's working and safe to travel to and from israel. >> there's a report in one of the newspapers that prime minister netanyahu asked the secretary of state john kerry to see if he could get that faa decision reversed. is that true. >> i don't want to go into details of confidential
conversations. our message to the american government is that our security is good. we're willing to be totally transparent with the american side and work with them to show them there is no danger, that those planes as you can see are taking off and landing from ben gurion airport. we haven't had a single incident with planes taking off and landing since the crisis in gaza started and i'm sure as we engage with the american side and show them the facts, that they'll be convinced that that airport can be used. >> the faa said the notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from the airport. that's pretty close the to ben gurion international airport. you saw the pictures of that house that was destroyed. >> correct. but ultimately, remember the airport itself is one of the most highly secured areas or facilities in the country. and we never had an attack on the airport. we've never had an attack on one of the runways of the airport. you've got to remember that iron dome system can pinpoint
incoming rockets to know where they're going to fall. >> this one they missed. >> once again, it wasn't at the airport. i'd say the following. i would think thence chances of something happening at the airport, lax in los angeles, could you have an earthquake, the same in japan. there's always a risk where you go. the risk in israel is minimal. we have an excellent safety record. on airline security, we're a world leader. >> what's the status of the effort for a cease-fire? is the secretary of state john kerry coming to israel? >> i can't talk about his travel plans. >> the prime minister spoke with him. >> if he decided to come, he'll be a welcome guest. the diplomacy is still in play. we had a meeting today with the u.n. secretary-general. ultimately, the goal is a long-term sustained peace and quiet for the people of israel. those missiles coming into israel have to stop. the tarpt attacks from gaza have to stop. if that can be achieved
diplomatically, fine. israel is acting against hamas and against the hamas military machine. >> i spoke earlier with madeline albright, former u.s. secretary of state. she bluntly said to me israel is overreacting. listen to this. >> i think this is hurting israel's moral authority. i do think that it looks as though they are overdoing which is why i think there has to be more emphasis on the fact that they have accepted the cease-fire. >> your response? >> we've accepted the cease-fire. she's 100% correct. only reason the conflict continues is because hamas rejected the cease-fire and wants this conflict to continue. they're paying a price because of it. if anyone says israel's overreacting, i'd say what would your country do in what would your government do with more than 2,000 rockets raining down on your cities fired by terrorists? what would you do? what would your government do if terrorists were coming across the frontier in these tunnels with armored -- with explosives
and automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades to kill and maim people? what would your government do? what would your government do if these attacks were threatening to close down your main transport facilities? our response has been measured and proportionate. >> the mark regev is the spokesman for the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu. joining us is the hamas spokesman osama ham deny joining us from qatar. as i recall, we discuss this had last week you and me, you were warning international airlines not to the flight into israel. you said they would be in dangered. what's your reaction to this decision today by the u.s. faa to ban u.s. carriers from flying in and out of israel for 24 hours? >> well, we warned them because
we were not willing to have any civilians being killed through the israeli attack against the palestinians and the palestinian resistance reaction. and in this warning was because we care about the lives of the civilians so we appreciate that response and we hold that can be for the end of the israeli attack, not for just 24 hours. i believe this will secure the civilian flights and the life of the civilians who are on those flights. >> you saw that one of your rockets landed about a mile away from ben gurion international airport outside of tel aviv, destroyed a house out there. are your rocketeers, are your guys who are launching those rocks are you deliberately targeting ben gurion international airport? >> well, it's clear that the israelis have targeted all the civilian houses in gaza. we are talking now about mocks,
about houses more than 7,000 houses were destroyed. partially or completely. we are talking about 600 casualties, most of them they are children, women, and civilians. and we are talking about more than 3,500 and 89 persons them that were civilians. so what the palestinians are supposed to do? to give their -- for the israelis to slaughter them or to try to defend themselves? we were expecting the international community will protect the palestinians from the israelis. will protect the palestinians from the mentality of netanyahu who lost his morals and his army also and he's reflecting a new image for hitler and the army. they are acting in the same way, killing the palestinians just because they are palestinians like what hitler was doing in the last century. >> mr. hamdan, when we spoke last week, you told me that
hamas had rejected that egyptian-sponsored cease fire because you never formally received the paperwork for it. israel, as you recall, accepted the cease-fire. it lasted for six hours. you were continuing to launch rockets and missiles during those six hours. israel then reopened its attacks against targets in gaza. do you now have a formal proposal from egypt for a cease-fire and will you accept it? >> let me clarify two points. first of all, we will -- we reject the proposal. there is a difference between welcoming the role and not accepting some ideas. the second point we accept accept the humanitarian cease fire and we'll tell the israelis violated twice. once by attacking and the second by attacking shah jayia.
there is some ideas being discussed through the political circles with hamas and part of that egypt is participating. we hope we can achieve a cease-fire. our position is clear. there is a palestinian deems. we wanted to be part of the agreement of the cease fire opening the borders, ending the siege on the palestinians, releasing palestinians who were arrested after the fake story of the three settlers in west bank. all what has been done based on this story supposed to be stopped because no one knows what exactly happened except netanyahu who was in charge and was responsible for that fake story. >> the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu was with the u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon today. they were both in tel aviv. he said this, netanyahu said this about hamas. listen to this. >> hamas is like isis. hamas is like al qaeda.
hamas is like hezbollah. hamas is like boko haram. this is part of a larger pattern. what grievance can we solve for hamas? their grievance is that we exist. they don't want any state solutions. >> do you want to respond to that, mr. hamdan? >>. >> well, he's very cold when he's lying. he knows that this is lies. he knows that hamas is different. hamas is seeking to have an independent palestinian sovereign state. we have said that clearly. we give the peace negotiations chances in 2000, 2005, and 2012. we gave those chances but the one who destroyed the possibilities for two-state solution is netanyahu himself. secretary kerry knows that we better than anyone else. the palestinian side side negotiated netanyahu.
they know that netanyahu himself he knows that. he destroyed the chances of the peace process and the creation of the palestinian state and now he's trying to destroy the palestinian people they will selves. and that's happening in gaza and the west bank at the same time. what i have to tell mr. netanyahu, you have to understand the facts of the life. you can't keep occupying the palestinian lands, fighting the palestinians. you have to admit that there is a historical mistake was done by occupying the palestinian lands. you have to withdraw your troops. this can be done peacefully. if it's not done in this way, the palestinians will resist for generation until their lands will be liberated. >> osama hamdan joining from us doha, qatar. mr. hamdan, thanks very much for joining us. we'll continue our conversations. we've had now several over the past few days.
coming up, breaking news on the investigation into the crash of the malaysia airlines flight 17 coming up. also, i'll ask one of president obama's top national security advisors about the malaysia jet as well as the threat to airliners flying to and from israel. lots more breaking news happening right here in "the situation room." when you run a business, you can't settle for slow.
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correspondent barbara starr. she was at the briefing. what did you learn, barbara. >> wolf, if you think moscow is about to behave, think again. u.s. officials say the russians are still sending weapons and systems and vehicles across the border into ukraine, perhaps as many as 20 systems alone on today. with the remains of the victims on their way back to their loved ones, and the data recorders in the hands of investigators, the u.s. intelligence community is sharply focused on how the attack unfolded. there are some things they a they know. >> malaysian airlines flight 17 was downed by a missile that was fired from the ground. that missile was fired from a separatist-controlled area. >> what they say they don't know were russians directly involved. that is now the key question. cnn obtained this diagram put
together by the u.s. intelligence community showing the trajectory of the attack after analyzing several pieces of data. u.s. intelligence picked up the missile launcher being turned on. then the vertical ascent of the missile and its heat plume enabling intelligence analysts to then calculate the missile's trajectory and launch point on the ground near the russian border. mh17 was on this course when the missile was fired, hitting the plane here. there were secondary explosions from the plane as it crashed to the ground. getting to the wreckage now vital. pieces of the missile may still be there and the wreckage of mh17 itself has much to tell. >> analysis of the shrapnel and the damage to the aircraft will tell us exactly where the aircraft was struck, what systems were hit and how the aircraft actually came down. >> reporter: but who fired the missile of still may it be difficult to determine. wolf, we have additional critical information just in.
i want to put up this satellite image for everyone to see. this is a russian military. area called rostov just just across the border inside russia. two images taken a month apart, the one on the left in june, the one on the right in july. you can see the buildup there in white of additional russian weaponry coming into this base. this is the area rostov where the u.s. believes the rebels have been trained on surface-to-air missiles, also the area the russians are using as the point from which to send additional weapons noose ukraine. wolf? >> wow, what a story that is. barbara, excellent reporting. thanks very much. let's dig deeper right now. joining us is ben rhodes, the deputy national security advisor at the white house, assistant to president obama. thanks very much for joining us. let me get your reaction. we know the russians they're still moving equipment around.
does this new intelligence further point to the pro-russian rebels inside ukraine for being responsible for the take-down of that malaysia airliner. >> absolutely, wolf. what we see is this was an sa-11 missile. we see it as having originated from the territory inside eastern ukraine controlled by the russian-back the separatists. as you heard barbara say, this is a missile that goes essentially straight up vertically. we see that that missile went up and intercepted the plane. we've also seen as you noted that there has been a steady flow of heavy weapons across that boarder from russia, including anti-aircraft systems. >> and the heavy flow is continuing even now in the aftermath of the downing of that plane with 29 people -- 298 people on board. >> that's right. when we imposed sanctions on russia that cut into some of their sectors the day before the downing of this plane, we cited the heavy flow of weaponry
across that border as one of the approximate causes of those sanctions. the continued support from the russia to the separatists is why we feel like we may need to continue to ratchet up the pressure. you saw the europeans meet today and indicate willingness to start to move into some of these sectors, financial, energy and arms, as well. they'll be making decisions on that in the coming days. we'll be coordinating with them, as well. >> let me ask you a blunt question, ben. how much responsibility does the russian president, vladimir putin bear for the deaths of those 298 passengers and crew members on that flight? >> well, we're still working to again determine whether there was a direct link, whether russians were on the ground. the degree to which russians may have trained these separatists. what we know is it's not easy to operate one of these sa-11 systems. it tends to take several days if not more of train package. we think president putin and the russian government bears responsibility for the support they provided to the
separatists, the arms and training they provided, as well and the general unstable environment in eastern ukraine. there is a direct responsibility on russia which is why we impose the sanctions. we'll determine exactly who we believe fired that missile. >> let me turn to the situation here in israel and in gaza. get your reaction first of all, the faa printed all u.s. airlines from flying in and out of israel's ben gurion airport. that decision i take it was an faa decision. but was the white house involved, notified? what was the role of the state department, the political team shall we say, in that decision? >> well, we were certainly notified by the faa this morning of their intention to provide this warning. this is standard practice, wolf. what happened is a rocket landed within a mile of ben gurion airport. that has a trigger for the faa where they feel compelled to
issue this guidance to american air carriers. we'll review it on a 24-hour basis but want to talk caution when it comes to the lives of americans and if the faa feels there's a threat in the vicinity, we have to take that very seriously. frankly, the situation in ukraine only underscores the need to take extra precautions when it comes to the safety of civilian airliners. >> was there any connection to the state department travel advisory issued the night before urging americans to avoid nonessential travel to israel? was there a connection between these twos events? >> no, there wasn't. the state department warning has to do with the general environment in israel where we see continued rocket fire from hamas and continued conflict there. this is a very specific warning that has to do with the airport. again, if we hadn't seen the type of threat we saw with the missile landing near the airport, the rocket landing near the airport, we wouldn't have had to issue this aviation guidance. this is a very zing warning that
has to do with the security of the airport and we can review that again 24 hours from now to see if we still believe that threat is real and current. >> do you know if prime minister netanyahu in that phone conversation with secretary of state kerry formally asked secretary kerry to convince the faa to reverse that is decision? >> well, we understand that the israelis have raised concerns about the warning. we understand understand that they want the flow of air travel into israel. they want to again restore calm and normal life within israel. that's entirely understandable. again, at the same time, we're not going to overrule the faa when they believe their security procedures are triggered. so we are going to do whatever is necessary to provide for the security of american air carriers. we'll have a dialogue with israel about these issues. at the same time, secretary kerry is in the region working to bring about an immediate cease fire which would be the best way to restore calm and part of any cease-fire we agree to that israel agrees to would have to involve hamas stopping
the rocket fire that precipitated these warnings. >> any progress being made in the effort to the achieve a cease-fire? >> well, i think secretary kerry's had good discussions in egypt. israel has indicated support for the egyptian proposal. what we need to do now is continue to work with the parties in the region to, working with president abbas and make clear to hamas now is the time to restore calm to have them come in line with the cease fire as they did in 2012 when we were able to achieve an outcome where we saw an end to the rocket fire and calm restored in the region. >> former secretary of state madeline albright told me earlier today she was raising serious questions about what we called the proportionality of israel's response to all the hamas rockets and missiles coming in. she said the response was undermining israel's moral authority. here's the question. has israel gone too far? >> well, look, wolf, we've said number one, the conflict was precipitated by hamas from
hiring rockets. israel has a right to defend itself from attacks. at the same time, we believe israel can do do more to an droid the types of casualties we've seen. the loss of palestinian life, the loss of children. we believe israel has to take greater care to avoid those types of civilian casualties. we've been heart broken by the loss of israeli life. that's why we want to work for a cease-fire so there can be an end to this violence. israel has a right to defend itself. it needs to take care to avoid the tragic civilian casualties we've seen. >> ben rhodes, deputy national security advisor at the white house. thanks very much for joining us is. we certainly hope you'll be coming back sooner rather than later. thank you very much. >> good to be with you. up next, bodies of malaysia flight 17 victims being prepared for return to the netherlands amid confusion and conflicting
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nick? >> reporter: they wait for the bodies here. and in the netherlands, australia, the train. for it to crawl out of a savage civil war so the dead on it might rest. it emerges, ghostly silent. a few defined men dressed in fatigues, ukrainian police also there. inside we glimpse two malaysian officials on board also, with the black boxes. carriages with the bodies sealed with construction foam. little dignity, holidaymakers caught up in a callous civil war. we understand this man is part of the security detail accompanying train. we don't know whether they are separatists or with the ukrainian government but this is the first time this train has been seen in public outside of separatist held areas and for the families of those on board really just one part of a tragic and awful journey. he says he's from donetsk but
not who he's with. but he does this if we ask if he's ukrainian. inside this compound, the painful grim work will begin of placing human remains in coffins. it may be hard to even count the damaged bodies on the train definitively one told me. but with the crash site so compromised the bodies in black boxes inside may be the closest in hard fact of what happened to mh-17. a steady flow of dutch officials coming in the night before. forensic experts a huge task ahead. >> explain what it was like for the dutch people, what's happened in the past four or five days. >> i think it's very sad and very hard for most majority because everybody probably knew someone obviously who was was on the plane. >> the bodies slowly to be brought here flown home where still then some will need to be identified before they can rest.
now, wolf, you were mentioning discrepancy in the numbers there. the separatists and the malaysian security official traveling with those bodies on the train says there were 282 in a good enough condition to be identified and 87 body parts but the dutch investigators we're talking to here say they understand there are about 200 bodies in that condition on that train, potentially there could be 98 whose whereabouts are yet to be known. they're still going through the five refrigerated wagons on the train. they've moving into the second one now and the first 50 bodies recovered will go to amsterdam tomorrow about 11:00 local time here. the concern, are there still human remains at that crash site. wolf? >> what a heart wrenching story this has been. nick, thank you so much. at the top of our next hour, i'll speak live with israel's top official in charge of civilian air travel and airports in israel. he's very critical of the
airlines and the countries that have now canceled service in and out of tel aviv. stand by for that, much more of our coverage on the crisis in the middle east. we'll be right back. . that directed the turbines that powered the farm that made the milk that went to the store that reminded the man to buy the milk
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fund-raising trip on the west coast, mr. obama offered condolences to the netherlands for the passengers killed aboard flight 17. >> well work with them to make sure that loved ones are recovered. that a proper investigation is conducted and that ultimately justice is done. >> reporter: the white house message was in part that president can multitask. which is why with the investigation an the violence in gaza, that prompted the faa to halt flights into israel. the president has no plans to scrap the schedule. that includes five fund-raisers on the west coast. counting the donor events he has already done this month, that's 11, on average, one every other day. criticism started last week when the president stuck to his photo ops and fund-raisers in the hours after the crash. >> i can't imagine eisenhower or reagan or kennedy or bill
clinton doing this. >> white house aides defend the white house schedule. >> he has dedicated phone lines. he has white house seniors that will accompany him every step of the way. >> reporter: secretary of state john kerry in the middle east and chief of staff denis mcdonough in berlin to mend fences after the u.s.-german spyi spying scandal. his defenders note other presidents raised hollywood money too, george w. bush did with arnold arnold schwarzenegger during the iraq war. >> i'm aware they handed out the oscars last sunday night. terminator 3 didn't win any. >> reporter: but there's one stop the president won't be making this week after exploring an appearance on jimmy kimmel live, the white house pulled the
plug. >> that is at least in part related to challenges of doing a comedy show in the midst of some of these other more serious matters the president is dealing with on the international scene. >> the white house was issuing strong hints today that if events heat up overseas, the he may be heading back it washington quickly. wolf, he may bail on the fund-raising trips if things get too hot at some of the hot spots overseas, wolf. >> looks like it is getting hotter and hotter. jim acosta at white house. thanks very much. coming up, much more of the breaking news, faa temporarily banning u.s. flights to and from tel aviv. we will talk more about that. our special report live from jerusalem, that's next. over 20 million kids everyday in our country lack access to healthy food. for the first time american kids are slated to live a shorter life span than their parents. it's a problem that we can turn around and change.
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it's happening now. break news report. all flights to israel cancelled. israel's top aviation officials standing by to respond in an exclusive interview. plus -- deadly new attacks on gaza. we will get a live update from the scene as u.s. attempts to promote a cease-fire going late into the night. and the u.s. releases new intelligence in the downing of malaysia flight 17. there's more confusion of the
crash site and growing outrage about reports of lewding and evidence tampering. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in jerusalem. you're in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. >> now let's get right to the breaking news tonight. all u.s. flights to and from israel grounded. it is a very rare order by the faa and it is driving on the danger to civilians as they battle hamas militants. there is enormous concern right now about flying over war zones after the shoot down of malaysia flight 17. we have our correspondents, analysts, news makers, all standing by. we are following all of the developments here in the middle east and in the ukraine crash. first, more on the breaking news affecting thousands of travellers in the united states and around the world.
hamas threatened to aim at the airport. this landed close, hitting a nearby town and damaging a home. that forced a delta plane to divert in mid flight and land in paris. cnn's john vos was on board. >> in an abundance of caution they decided to head back to paris. >> now the faa banned all u.s. airlines flying to and from israel for at least 24 hours because of u.s. concerns. other international airlines are also canceling flights to israel, including lufthansa, kla and air france. secretary of state john kerry met with egyptian and arab league officials in cairo to push for a cease-fire. >> the loss of lives in the humanitarian impact is heart breaking. >> the death toll on both sides is rising. most of i israel casualties are
troops, including a missing soldier, now believed to be dead after the ambush of an armored personnel carrier. and two israeli american soldiers killed during fighting in gaza. one of them, a texas native. his funeral held in israel, drawing thousands of mournsers. more funerals in gas why as well. the united nations says up to 80% of palestinians killed in fighting are civilians. >> pressure is mounting. and i hope this will stop. >> u.s. secretary-general met with benjamin netanyahu and agreed to a cease-fire. >> it is the same. stop fighting. start talking. >> prime minister netanyahu argued that there isn't much israel can do to satisfy hamas because he says they are terrorists who want to kill civilians and wipe out israel. >> hamas is like isis.
hamas is like al qaeda. hamas is like hezbollah. hamas is like boca -- >> they have no option but to defend themselves. >> the palestinian death toll in gaza is now up to 630. 30 israelis died. 28 soldiers, two civilians. let's go to gaza for the latest. what are you seeing, carl? what are you hearing? >> you're absolutely right, wolf. that debt toll continues to mount now more than 630. that means effectively in the last 24 hours there have been around 80 deaths. of course the united nations insisting between 70 and 80% of casualties are in fact civilians noncompetence. but tonight, now that night has fallen, we once again are hearing heavy artillery fire. and it looks to be coming to the
east of gaza city. we've also seen some flares up in the so sky. that in previous nights has continueded continued to indicate ground troops. the reason they are putting those illumination flair niece the sky is that a lot of the israeli troops don't appear, at least from the night vision scope video we've seen, they don't seem to be operating with night vision goggles. that's why they are putting the illumination rounds up. does that mean that israeli ground forces are coming deeper into gaza could well be. as it say, that's been back to certain points throughout the evening with heavy artillery fire as well, wolf. >> looks like no end in sight. at least for now. let's see if the cease-fire can be achieved. carl, in gaza, thanks very much. now back to the dramatic new development. faa back in washington, temporarily planning all u.s. flights to and from israel's
main airport. that's ben green international airport after hamas rocket landed not very far away. joining us for an exclusive interview, director of israel's civil aviation authority, thanks very much for joining us. your reaction it what the u.s. government has decided to at least for 24 hours ban all u.s. flights in and out of israel. >> wolf, yes, there is a decision, an faa decision to hold all-american flights for the next 24 hours. we held a conference call with the faa officials about an hour ago in which we gave them full analysis of the precautions that israel has taken in the last 15 days. how we conducted full
operational airport and we are waiting their decision. >> they make the point, ben rhodesed to me, that rocket landed within a mile of the ben gurian international airport. we showed the damage done to that home there. isn't it wise to err on the side of caution, if rockets are so close to the airport, maybe it would be smart to avoid flying into ben gurion at least for the time being. >> wolf? we are about 2200 rockets later. and 15 days of fight and about 6,000 flights. not even a single rocket landed in ben gurion. and it is not a miracle and not a trick. we know how to defend ben gurion, period. we know how to do it. we have prepared ourselves.
we know how to conduct air traffic management. we know how to safeguard ben gurion. and we know that that rocket was going to impact a point across the fence of ben gurion. for different reasons we let it impact the house. but ben gurion itself has seen no single rocket and i think the clanses that they will see a rocket inside is extremely slim. and i expect the decision. >> as you know, most of the european airlines, major ones like lufthansa, klm, they suspended flying in and out of israel for 24 or 36 hours from the asian airlines. are there other commercial airlines still flying in and out of israel? >> i have had a very busy
evening so i don't have all of the information. i think british airways says flying in and out of israel. and there are others. but yes, wolf, you are right, the europeans, were running immediately after the americans. i don't know if they have judgment of their own. but i do hope that when the americans will hopefully change their mind, the europeans will do the same. >> how big of a deal is this for israel? let's say there's no flights coming in except for a few other smaller carriers. this could be a major, a major problem for israel. this is a heavy tourism season. a lot of tour vists cancelled buzz of fighting with hamas. you will lose a lot of revenue for israel, aren't you? >> wolf, i will not hide from you. this is a major setback from israel. unfortunate american decision and what will follow later is the european decisions.
and it is a big hit to the israeli economy and to a pride that we could have hold and maintain the area traffic to and from israel. and as i said for the third time, we hope that the faa will reconsider its decision after we gave the faa a very thorough analysis of why we believe that ben gurion is a safe airport and we will serve dealt why and us airways and united flying again to israel. >> when you spoke to the faa and you say you just got off a conference call with the faa back in washington, did they site only this one rocket that landed about a mile away from ben gurion airport or did they site other factors as well?
can you still hear me or have we lost communications with you? mr. ram, can you hear me? >> as far as i understand, this is -- can i hear you loud and clear. >> all right, go ahead. was there other reasons -- other than this one rock the that landed near the airport, did they say there were other factors as well? >> absolutely not, wolf. the faa regulation say if there is less than one mile, a rocket from the fence from the perimeter of the airport, activity of u.s. carriers is put on hold for about 24 hours. they didn't mention any other thing, any other activity which they feel uneasy about.
>> the head of the israeli aviation authority. thanks very much for joining us. we will touchback with you, touch base with you tomorrow, to see where this situation is unfolding. let's get an update now on the efforts to try to promote cease-fire between israel and hamas, a cease-fire if that were really to go into effect, resumably the airport at -- the flights in and out of ben gurion would resume as normal. there have been ongoing talks with cairo and john kerry. the chief palestinian negotiator is joining us. thanks very much for joining us. what is the very latest? i know have you been working very hard with the president of the palestinian authority to get a cease-fire. where does it stand? >> well, it is very, very difficult, intensive efforts by john kerry, by the egyptian
foreign minister, by mr. moon and by the foreign minister of qatar. they are trying to work out a balance between a cease-fire that would be accepted and then lifting the siege from gaza. i cannot tell you that at this minute that we are close or far away. all i'm saying, it's the most serious efforts that we have seen now. with the forecast on secretary kerry. i think he is now holding all of the lines and he just was on the phone about 15 minutes ago and maybe, maybe by the early hours of the morning. i'm not saying, expectations or hopes, but i hope that this will culminate in reaching the
balance between the cease-fire and the negotiations. >> because when i spoke to hamas, he was in qatar in the last hour, he seemed to think there was a good chance of a cease-fire as well. the last time there was a serious egyptian proposal, the israelis accepted it, the palestinian authority accepted it, the arab league accepted it. hamas rejected it but said they weren't presented formally that proposal. are you confident hamas, this time, will accept a cease-fire. >> -- spending almost three hours with hamas bureau, and i know that the foreign minister of qatar is spending last night and tonight bls a lot of how much of their ship and i'm telling you, that the foreign minister of egypt with our guys
also in cairo, and with mr. kerry being the focal point of all this contact, i'm crossing my fingers, wolf. i think if we can create the balance, between the cease-fire and lifting the siege and beth sides getting their obligation, of course we have a national con sensitive government and the government that would be fully in charge of the limitation, where they are hoping the passages with, you know, with the issues and humanitarian aid and construction of gaza. so let's heap that by tomorrow mornin morning -- or tomorrow night when you speak to me, i will have the details. i'm really hoping that we can succeed. but i'm not giving you anything concrete because i don't want to -- i've been there before. i don't want to raise anyone's expectations. all i can say is the most
intensive that are being -- [ inaudible ] >> that sounds somewhat encouraging. but you're right, it's not a deal until it is a done deal. even if it is a signed deal, there are implementations. last tight this deal was put forward, there was a cease-fire right away. the israelis accepted. this time around would it be cease-fire and then all of the other issues would be discussed and negotiations or are some of those other issues for example hamas wants, included in this deal, are they going to be implemented right away, presuming the israelis would accept? >> i think that approach now is an approach of what is acceptable. i think there is a cease track, so i think that it is better now, and i think what you just
said about, you know, there is no done deal. even if it is a done deal, maybe you know -- you know very well, wolf, so let's hope and pray we can have an agreement that can come out of tomorrow. >> let's hope indeed. we will touch base with you same time same place. joining us from jericho on the west bank, let's hope this fighting stops and people can go back to their lives and hopefully, hopefully emerging out of this. we can only hope and pray that there can be a resumption of the peace process. palestinian and israel living side by side. let's see if that can be achieved. a dream right now, seems unlikely. but maybe something good in the end can yet emerge from this disaster. thanks very much. still ahead, more on the breaking story we are following. the new u.s. ban on flights to and from israel and growing fears about planes growing near an active combat zone.
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you're looking at live pictures of jfk airport in new york city. planes coming and going as normal. except those going to israel tonight here in jerusalem israeli officials are telling me that new u.s. ban on flights to and from israel was not needed. the faa clearly, they feel, overreacted. faa felt otherwise. taking this rare action after a rocket fell not far from ben gurion international airport,
about a mile or so away. renee, what is the latest you are hearing from aviation authorities? >> reporter: i tell you this, wolf, the faa is making a rare move, a decision that angered the u.s. ally, israel. all u.s. airline flights in and out of israel, cancelled. one delta flight turned around midair. flight path shows the plane boarded for tel aviv with passengers and crew on board was diverted to paris. u. u.s. taking no chances. this rocket found one mile from ben gurion airport. jittery carriers responding immediately. >> a super sensitive reaction to
what happened on monday over the ukraine by u.s. carriers. other airlines following suit, united u.s. air and some international carriers, including lufthansa, klm and norwegian. but israel is pushing back, trying to ensure airlines it is safe it fly to and from its main airport. an angry transport minister calling the u.s. move a quote prize to terror. the country's own airline continues to fly. currently the faa pro hb its u.s. airlines from flying over eastern ukraine and crimea, north korea, ethiopia and libya. u.s. planes can fly over iraq but only above 20,000 feet. and aa warns of dangers, including missiles and small arms, for eight countries
including sir wyria and afghani. some critics say security decisions belong solely with government and say faa warnings urging airlines to use quote extreme caution is too vague. >> i have no idea what extreme caution means at 33,000 feet in a commercial airliner that has no protection against any ground missiles. i don't know what faa is saying there. >> 11 days ago, the military arm of hamas threatened an attack on the airport. but to be clear, that did not prompt the faa ban on flights. it's today's rocket attack that did it. the faa will reassess the ban in 24 hours but the question remains, when it does lift this ban, will that reassure airlines to resume flights or will they need a cease-fire. wolf? >> thanks, renee. let's dig deeper.
congressman peter king, from the homeland security. a spokesman from benjamin net e >> the faa has to put american safety at first. i regret that it has to be done and if anything it should show us how dangerous hamas is and why we should not get in the way of israel when it attempts to go after hamas and finish what they have to do. again, i understand iz israel's being mad at this, but we have to protect the united states.
the president has to make it clear he is not showing equivalency between israel and hamas. that, i think, puts got faith of the united states in question. but at the moment, i believe the faa has the obligation to make sure americans are safe, in view that the rocket did come so close to the airport. >> here is a question, based on what you know, and you have a lot of sensitive information, was the faa information based strictly on that one rocket getting through israel's iron dome system and landing a mile or so away from ben gurion airport and destroying that home? or are there other threats that we may not know about that influence the faa? >> wolf, i've not received a briefing on it. but i would say it is an accumulation of events. culminating in the rocket attack that fell short. but again, considering how vicious the fighting is, and
looking back at ukraine, i think the u.s. decided it is better to be safe rather than sorry. i hope the security report is done, security analysis is done. and if it does conclude that the airport is safe, that flights can resume, because we can't allow ma has and other terrorists to score these type of victories. again, look out for american safety and security and make sure we aren't giving any unintended or unnecessary victory to hamas. i can't emphasize enough how important it is that we not try to hold israel back as it goes forward against hamas. i really disagree with the administration's people, such as ben rhodes, who say israel hasn't done enough to protect civilians. considering what is going an and considering what happens in any war, i think israel has gone over and above and we should not undermine netanyahu as he moves forward.
>> we heard earlier from madeleine albright, that there was a question of proportion ality, now ben rhodes, deputy security adviser for the president, he told me that the israelis can do better in pinpointing what they are doing. you are saying you are satisfied with the actions israel is taking. is na that what you are saying? >> i'm very, very disappointed in the words coming from the administration to have ben rhodes undermining israel in the midst of its war. on one hand they say israel has the right to defend itself but on the other hand they say they are going too far. that's wrong. they are doing what they have to do. i would hope the statements from madeleine albright and ben rhodes is not a concerted effort to undermine israel to weaken their position and get them to the bargaining table. israel should do what it has to to protect itself. we wouldn't want third parties coming in and telling us not to. >> peter king, the member of the
homeland security committee. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> just ahead, latest on the investigation into the downing of malaysia flight 17 including growing international anger over what one leader calls evidence tampering. also, a look at pro russian leaders and where they are getting their heavy arsonry of weapons.
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we're live here in jerusalem. wolf blitzer reporting. we have breaking news. let's go right to washington. jim sciutto, jim, you're learning details about that conversation that prime minister netanyahu had with john kerry wp what are you learning? >> that right. i'm told by an official that netanyahu made clear the secretary of state john kerry that there is no reason to suspend flights to israel. you are seeing a strong push back from israeli officials to american officials. i heard from the israeli ambassador to the u.s. earlier today making the same point that we can. israelis saying we can keep tel aviv airport safe. there is no reason for the faa and u.s. airlines to take this step. just again, repeating israeli official confirming to cnn that prime minister netanyahu made
clear to secretary kerry that there is no reason to suspend flights to israel. on the other international story we've been covering, the crash of mh 17 in ukraine, following the response today from european leaders. and you hear today the french president saying, that france will go ahead with the sale of advanced warships to russia. this over u.s. objections and even as russia officials, and announcing they are considering a new round of economic sanctions. at first step some hope more severe penalties. >> from leaders in australia -- >> what we have seen, is evidence tampering on an industrial style. >> to the uk -- >> impounded by sickening reports and looting of victims' possessions and interference with the evidence. >> to the ukraine where mh 17 now lies scattered in pieces --
>> this is a -- >> international outrage is mounting fury at the thought of a commercial airliners shot out of the sky and pro russian rebels now luring it over the wreckage. >> what exactly are they trying to hide? >> so far aside from voicing anger, no country is taking significant action to rest from control from the rebels. >> we are not only outraged at the attack itself, we are horrified and enraged by what happened sense. >> u.n. security council demanded access of the site. but trying to take control after crime scene from rebels suspected of the crime is not without its challenges. rebels released victims bodies to international investigators just yesterday. and made a media speck cal of the simple task of handing over the plane's flight recorders. crews that happened here, are still muddled by mismanagement and interference. those trying to collect evidence are returning with little more than photographs and anecdotes.
>> first day in particular, they had really terrible treatment. people were visibly drunk on the scene and not allowed to see much of anything. >> the leader of the pro russian rebel, a suspect now in the crime, seems defensive, even amuse bid it all, rolling his eyes at the question of accountability. >> why weren't the bodies taken care of and given dignity sooner. >> you know, it is a fantastic story. the thing is that as soon as members of efcc arrived, that then we would be responsible. >> moving bodies one step closer to home, this question, when will the international community finally gain control of the scene where they perished? >> a photo of the wreckage reveals what could be a damming clue. experts tell me the pock marks visible in these photos,
capturcapture s ed first by the "new york times," says the size and pattern of the holes, indicating as other u.s. intelligence found, it was a russian-made system, wolf, that brought this plane down. >> jim sciutto reporting for us, and all intelligence officials, with russian equipment across the border. we are getting a clearer picture of the pro russian rebeles who essentially had control of the crash site in eastern roukraine. among them, the man who is their new leader. who is he? what are his ties and where are they getting their firepower? brian todd looking for answers. brian is joining us from washington. what do you have for us, brian? >> u.s. government forces about this strange shadowy character who leads pro russian rebels in that area of ukraine where the plane was shot down. despite his irreverent bizarre
interview with cnn and teenager's attitude, we are learning he a he got strong ties to the kremlin. >> the jean jacket, black t-shirt, roll of the eyes. he comes across like a 16-year-old being lecture bade parent. but this is a self-described prime minister of a key group of pro russian rebels in ukraine. cnn's chris cuomo asked him about links of the rebels to the attack. >> how do you deny it is your forces that took down the plane. >> translator: all of the information that comes through the internet in my opinion is practically all lies. >> reporter: by many accounts, this man until recently had control of the bodies of many victims and black boxes from the malaysia airlines plane. calling this crime seen an object of quote black humor. before welling leader of the people's republic in the spring, a russian citizens, claims to be
a political consultant in ra russia. not much else is known about this 41-year-old and there could be good reason for that. >> there are rumors he was made a general in the kgb in 2002. he has denied them. >> reporter: u.s. official tells cnn rumors that he is a russian intelligence agent or speculative but he clearly has ties to the regime in moscow. boradi claims of his forces didn't have the capability of hitting something at such high altitude. but they were spotted in territory before the shoot down. it t could have come from a ukrainian base in june. but the u.s. intelligence has a,ing would theory that russians supplied them with the launcher. and rebels got tanks, armored personnel carriers, and rocket launchers in recent weeks. the events leading to the downing of the plane, could any of it have happened without some
russian involvement? >> i don't believe so. they have relied on russian support and russian involvement throughout this entire exercise. >>. >> reporter: analysts say the launcher that would have downed that plane would have been from russian expertise. either russian operatives or through instruction. ukrainian defectors could have run the launcher. they deny any equipment in service with the russian military crossed into the border into ukraine. wolf? >> brian todd reporting for us. thanks very much. i want to quickly go back to jim sciutto. jim, i understand now we're getting an on the record statement about that phone conversation between prime minister netanyahu and secretary of state john kerry. including the element about the decision by the faa to shut down u.s. carriers from flying in and out of ben gurion airport
outside of tel aviv. >> that's true. in effect lobbying secretary kerry, saying there is no reason to do that. now we hear the state department characterization, confirming that the faa ban came up during the conversation but also showing here wolf that u.s. officials really at least at this point are unbending in this decision state department spokesperson saying the only consideration in issuing the notice was the safety and security of our citizens. faa continues to monitor and evaluation this situation and will issue updated guidelines no later than 24 hours from the time this notice went into force. opening up the window that they might reevaluate and make a different decision. >> we will see what they do. very, very critical decision for israel right now. critical decision potential therely for passengers flying in and out of israel. still ahead, tel aviv bus
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see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. we're back live from jerusalem. there's huge concern right now about flights over war zones after the downing of the malaysian airliner over ukraine. tom foreman is taking a closer look at some of the most dangerous places to fly. tom, what are you seeing? >> yeah, look at flight patterns around the world and look at the places that the faa says that u.s. carriers either should not fly or should have extreme caution about flying. there are two key reasons why. the first has to do with what we just saw in ukraine. great big robust missile systems that are capable of hurts planes that are flying up
there at 30,000 feet. in that case you're talking about something like the buk system, which is so powerful and so well targeted it can reach all the way up there and take out almost anything. look at the range of that. it can be tremendously destructive. it has, interestingly enough, limitations for all its strength. a system really needs a government to buy it, support it and make it operate. the troops running it have to have a high degree of train. thirdly, all of that makes tracking possible. we're watching it right now. when you fire something as powerful as this, it's tracked around the world and other governments weigh in and they want answers, which bring us to the second threat that avs experts are worried about. the smaller manned portable air defense systems or man pads as they're called. they can only reach two or three miles up. you would think that that makes this plane safe. but every plane in the world has to take off and land and that brings them into this area. and this system may scare them
more than the big systems, aviation experts out there, highly portable, it can be concealed and moved quickly. the targeting on these shoulder-fired rockets has vastly improved. and the groups working them are more organized. think about isis out there. those groups can send out pla toons of people with missiles like this. and with the wake of what happened in ukraine, this is why aviation security analysts are saying are those twin threats threatening more passengers and more flights and especially american flights out there for the american government? >> tom foreman, thanks very much. let's bring in peter goelz and tom fuentes. you heard that the faa and the europeans following the faa decided to ban commercial airliner flights in and out of tel aviv over the next 24 to 36
hours. what was your immediate reaction? and you're an expert. >> i found it to be completely understandable. there you have an active war going on. you've got an international airport where planes are coming in to land and take off. as we just saw, you don't need more than 10,000 or 12,000 feet for a man pad to be very effective. i think it was the right thing to do. the insurance liability of flying in there over this ban is simply too great. >> tom fuentes, what did you think? >> i think the same as peter. what tom foreman just said i don't think has gotten enough attention. these shoulder-held weapons can be taken anywhere. you can put them in the back of a station wagon or a minivan and drive them wherever you want. hamas could go through one of their tunnels, carry one of these in, get in a station wagon
and sit outside of ben-gurion airport and certainly shoot an incoming or outgoing airplane almost at their pleasure. those missiles are heat seeking. they go up to 14,000 feet. an airplane can't take off fast enough or land fast enough to avoid it. >> let's see what happens tomorrow. we'll follow the breaking news of peter and tom, guys. still to come, a lot more on a seek and destroy mission targeting a tunnel network threatening to bring the fight with hamas on to home soil. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪
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the israel military says a major objective of its current operation is to take out an intricate network of tunnels it says the underground web is taking the fight beyond gaza and on to israel's own home turf. cnn's martin savidge has details. >> reporter: the same thing that has challenged and slowed israeli soldiers in gaza is now spilling the war out of gaza into israel. tunnels. early monday israel defense forces say two terror squads of hamas militants used tunnels to infiltrate from northern gaza into israel. possibly intending to launch an attack on civilians. this israeli military video is said to show five of those hamas fighters first crouching in the brush then firing on nearby israeli soldiers, their rifles raised and recoiling after each shot. at one point one of the men can be seen reloading. the militants appear to retreat
back to their tunnel when an israeli air strike hits. the incident forced area roads to closed, residents to shelter in their homes and tied up security forces for hours. the military says ten hamas militants were killed and a number of israeli soldiers wounded. inside gaza, the idf says a well organized and deeply entrenched network of tunnels has hampered israeli movement allowing militants to pop up unexpectedly firing on soldiers or tossing grenades before dropping back out of sight. israeli military officials refer to the underground works as lower gaza and suggest at least some of the war is being waged underground. engineers methodically work to destroy them using heavy earth moving equipment or explosives. israel believes there are many more tunnels yet to be found and as soldiers battle through gaza's streets another danger lurks just beneath their feet. martin savidge, cnn, jerusalem.
remember, you can always follow us on twitter. go ahead tweet me@wolf blitzer. you can tweet the sho show @cnnsitroom. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. terror in the skies. u.s. flights to and from israel grounded after rocket attacks. hundreds stranded. we'll go live to a reporter who witnessed the attacks. what the investigation into malaysia flight 17. new evidence tonight that russia is supplying the rebels with weapons. a russian officer shot down the plane. nighing over war zones. the dangerous hot spots we fly over every day. let's go "outfront."